I had a hard time getting started on this project. These past two weeks were very overwhelming for me (both in school work and personally), so I don’t know that I satisfied the vision of this project (or the assignment), at least not as I wanted to. Instead I chose to simply make my own version of the Chibitronics project that I shared on my blog in Week 9. My goal was to just start working and see where it took me. I’m not really in a situation where it’s easy to create a video right now, so instead I’m going to narrate my process with pictures.
As I said in my previous Week 10 post, I have a lot of recyclables building up in my apartment. So I took some cardboard and styrofoam from that pile, as well as some printer paper, some cable ties, and tape to form my materials.
I then started thinking about my own favorite poems (ee cummings especially, because the creator of the original project used an ee cummings poem, and I just generally really love him. I chose the final two lines from “since feeling is first.” I printed them out on the paper.
Using a box cutter (I wish I had an Xacto knife), I cut out the parenthesis.
I wanted to create a kind of open box for the paper to sit above. The backing would have all the lights and copper tape, and the LEDs would then shine through the holes I cut in the paper. So I started cutting the styrofoam into edges for the box, and taping the styrofoam onto a cardboard backing. I tried using the natural edges already in the stryofoam, but they were wildly different heights once I cut them, so I had to trim them down to be roughly even.
As it turns out, cutting styrofoam makes a mess and I highly discourage anyone else from using it.
I then started to create mini-cardboard borders that I thought would contain the light and prevent it from bleeding out–I only wanted the parentheses to be illuminated.
With that done, I started laying my copper tape and testing it.
OK — the hard part was done. But when I laid the paper over, I realized how ill-conceived the mini-box idea was.
My plan to fix that was to add an additional cardboard backing–this time affixed to the paper–which would also have a cutout for the parentheses. That way, the cardboard would block most of the light. So I started cutting again.
And then testing.
That was better, but some light was still bleeding out. So I knew then that I had to create a full cardboard backing, and then just abandon the mini-box idea.
Much better! Now to try out the cable ties. My plan was to use them for edges of the parentheses, to create a cleaner look. But I couldn’t seem to get them to stay with just the tape. A hot glue gun would probably have worked, but I don’t have one at home.
I’m going to keep toying around with different ideas on how to affix them, but here’s a short video showing the effect.
All in all, I’m not 100% pleased with the end result, but I’m glad I was able to sit down and produce something, even in the midst of a difficult week.